Concerned about the economy, household budgets, food safety and the environment, people are rediscovering the skills and pastimes of prior generations. These include vegetable gardening, home preservation of foods and chicken-keeping. As interest in these activities has grown, municipalities across our state and country have kept or adopted ordinances allowing residents to keep a limited number of egg-laying hens. We, the people of Pickerington, would like the same opportunity.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Shot Through the Heart
On August 18, we went to the Safety Committee of Council meeting, all dressed up nice, and with a 40 page packet of information that included three pages of signatures and five letters in support of changing the ordinance prohibiting livestock in Pickerington.
It didn't go well.
Here are the relevant meeting minutes:
1.ROLL CALL.Mrs. Hammond called the meeting to order at 7:43 P.M., with roll call as follows:Mrs. Hammond, Mr. Barletta, and Mr. Blair were present.No members were absent.Others present were Bill Vance, Lynda Yartin, Commander Annetts, Ed Drobina, Chet Hopper, Greg Bachman, Susan Crotty, Michelle Richardson, Alexa Liebert, Carol Carter, John Vanduynhoven, Frank Sclafani, Jim Myers, Eric Richardson, Larry Stupke, Linda Stupke, Tracy Pieczynski, Angelique Taylor, and others.
2.APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF July 21, 2010, Regular Meeting.Mr. Blair moved to approve; Mr. Barletta seconded the motion.Roll call was taken with Mr. Blair, Mr. Barletta, and Mrs. Hammond voting “Yea.”Motion passed, 3-0.
A.Jim Myers.Mr. Myers stated he resides on Hereford Drive and he and Mr. Frank Sclafani were present this evening to discuss the Neighborhood Watch Group they have started in RaMar Acres and Pickerington Hills subdivisions.Mr. Myers stated they have run across some signs they would like to post throughout the neighborhood to warn that neighbors are watching.Mr. Myers stated they currently have two signs on Lockville Road that they would like to replace with larger signs.He stated he had discussed this with Mr. Drobina and it was suggested he come to this Committee to see if they can get signs posted throughout the neighborhood, at the entrances to the park, and at the entrances to the neighborhood.Mr. Myers stated he understood they could not put this type of sign on speed limit signs, stop signs, street signs, etc., but they would have to be posted on their individual posts.Mr. Myers stated he was requesting the City either put in posts and post the signs, or if the City could put the posts in he would be more than glad to install the signs.Mr. Myers stated they were just trying to get the word out that the neighborhood was watching out to assist the police officers in Pickerington.Mr. Vance stated he would go out with Mr. Drobina and investigate what they would like to accomplish and go from there.He stated he felt the City would be receptive to working with the neighborhood in that regard.
B.Carol Carter.Mrs. Carter stated she would like to address the issue of the chickens in her neighborhood.Mrs. Carter stated she does not object to farmers have chickens, but she does live inside the city limits and we do have an ordinance against keeping livestock.She stated keeping livestock in the city does affect your neighbors, and most cities do not allow livestock on properties of less than five acres.Mrs. Carter stated allowing these chickens, etc., would also affect the property value of the neighbors homes.Mrs. Carter stated as a resident of the neighborhood she was not in favor of allowing chickens.
C.Linda Stupka.Mrs. Stupka stated she lives behind the family that has the chickens and it does affect her.She stated it does affect the property values, the smell is terrible, and she would like to see this stopped.
D.Michelle Richardson.Mrs. Richardson stated she is the resident who owns the chickens and she is maintaining that they are pets, not livestock.Mrs. Richardson stated Mrs. Stupka does live behind her, but the chickens do not smell.Mrs. Richardson distributed a packet of information on the benefits of raising chickens and stated chickens are educational, teach responsibility and self-sufficiency, and it is good for the environment.Mrs. Richardson stated she maintains her chickens are pets because in Ohio the definition of livestock excludes a person who keeps a limited number of hens for pleasure, companionship, and a few eggs for household use.Mrs. Richardson stated she has several letters from real estate personnel that state there is no difference in property values among cities and townships that allow pet hens and those that do not.Mrs. Richardson stated she had also provided a petition for chicken approval and five letters in support from neighbors stating they are in support of the chickens.
I had asked people to come to this meeting with us. Several people said that they would, but as the time drew near, they started dropping like flies. Sick kids, called into work, visiting relatives all kept people home. Only one of my neighbors who said he would show up, did. Thank you so much, John! I really appreciated you taking the time to attend the meeting.
Gavin Blair, the council Member who said he would visit and see our aviary, never showed up to conduct his inspection.
Not surprisingly the result was this:
A.Review of request to keep fowl within the City.Mr. Barletta stated as a resident, and representing the residents, he is not inclined to change the existing Code to allow keeping hens.He stated for every one person that might do a good job of keeping it up, there will be someone else that will not.Mr. Blair stated he is not a strong advocator of legislating for one person.He stated in terms of changing the whole legislation to open it up to everyone might not be a positive situation and he could not see supporting a change to what we currently have.Mrs. Hammond stated she would have to agree with Mr. Blair and Mr. Barletta, and she has also spoken with other council members and they also do not support making any changes to our Code for one individual.Mrs. Hammond stated then that the ordinance stands as it is.
As we got up to leave, Katy asked, "Do we get to keep our chickens now?"
I said, "No."
All four kids started sobbing. As we walked out the door, the Buildings Director shut it behind us.